Lewis Gun: characterization, device
One of the most recognizable specimens weapons of the twentieth century - a Lewis machine gun, a photo which demonstrates how it differs from other species. Such popularity is due to the fact that it is often shown in films, both dedicated to the world wars. However, it is really used for a long time, since its combat characteristics were high. So - Lewis machine gun system.
The story of the gun and a little of the life of its constructor
The creator of this weapon is considered the American army colonel Isaac Lewis. It was a talented and well-educated officer. He studied at the Academy of West Point, and then, in 1911, became head of the Artillery School, located at Fort Monroe. In this role, he spent virtually the rest of his life and retirement. At this time, Colonel Lewis activities included research work and development of weapons, and he became famous as the first-class electrician and mechanic. Before retiring Lewis chose for himself a vocation - he got a consultant to the company Automatic Arms Company. While working there, he became interested in one of the prototypes of an infantry machine gun, which was a designer Samuel McLean. Many solutions and design features of this weapon Lewis then used in the development of their own weapons.
Lewis many times to apply for their inventions, but the response to them did not get. Since the command of the US Army did not interested in the development of designers of his country, he went a bit the other way. In 1912, a friend of Lewis, the officer at the time of the young of the armed forces, such as aviation, Captain Chandler, agreed to test a sample of the machine gun on the biplane "Wright." By that attracted and one of the pilots, Lieutenant Milling.
Despite the fact that the gun has proven itself quite well, army commanders still did not pay him enough attention. Yes, the official tests were carried out, but the preference was given to foreign-made machine gun - "Bene Mercy". This French arms in many ways inferior to Lewis Gun. In addition, he had a peculiar power of special rigid tapes, making it difficult to work with him. This position of the government has forced Lewis to move to Europe, resigned from the US Army.
New features and the growing popularity of gun
There is a promising weapon interested Belgians. Designer conducted a series of tests and impressions, after which a contract was signed with the Belgian army and founded the company Armes Automatic Lewis, which was to produce a machine gun. But some problems have forced Lewis to close the company and give the right to the production of machine-gun British company BSA. She also felt it on the aircraft models, which is quite good results have been achieved. In 1913, Lewis machine gun hit the target from the air at a distance of 120 meters. At the same time it has got most of the disc cartridges.
These impressive results have led to the fact that in the same year the company received a batch of test orders from Russia, England and Belgium. Despite the barrel overheating problem, most experts gave high marks machine gun. Belgian army took it on board. Russia also had a small party. British BBC also expressed caution and decided to watch from the sidelines.
The use of the First World War
As the mood in Europe expected the armed conflict, the BSA has decided to increase its production capacity by ordering a batch of machines from the United States. Since the beginning of the First World War the British Army ordered 10 first, a little later - 50 and after testing on the battlefield - a full batch of 200 guns.
The demand for machine gun Lewis grew exponentially after the Belgian troops successfully repulsed several massive attacks of German troops. Armed Belgians were just "Lewis". But as the BSA could not cope with the influx of orders, they ordered a round of 12 thousand units of machine guns from the American company Savage Arms Company. By 1915, a new plant was opened in Birmingham, which produced about 300 guns a week.
Curiously, the German army called gun "rattlesnake" because of the characteristic sound of the queue. Those guns that have been captured as trophies, were altered under the cartridge 7, 92 mm "revolver". Basically, they used the assault troops.
Features and weapons design
According to his theory, it was a gun magazine and a rotary barrel cooling by air. His equipment functioned as intended, due to removal of powder gases from the bore. At the moment of firing gases impacted piston which under their pressure platoon mainspring. In this case, using the rod racks were removed lugs and the shutter starts to move. Through the extraction window with the reflector ejected cartridge cases. Then, the shutter projection worked on feeder - and filed the new cartridge to the receiving window.
After all the details held its position, the action spring pushed the shutter and rod forward. The shutter when it would pick up and chuck it shall be sent to the chamber. Feeder is shifted to the right and hold the latch. Further, the shutter cranks, lugs included in the special grooves, the hammer hit the primer of the cartridge and produces a shot.
Like most automatic weapons at the time, the drawing machine gun Lewis testified about some specific disadvantages. For example, due to prolonged firing barrel is often overheated, leading to delays. But the designer took care of it. He came up with a special radiator, which was intended to cool the barrel, and put him in a special aluminum casing. This prototype was some modern barrel cooling system using a suction jet pump. But even these measures do not solve all the problems, and when firing bursts of more than 25 machine gun shots still overheated, causing the need to stop the fire for a while.
One of the characteristic external features of the Lewis machine gun is a disc magazine. Then such a power supply circuit of weapons seemed most satisfactory. Total magazine holds 46 rounds, which could be shot in just 6 seconds. The diameter and thickness of the disk gun "Lewis" may vary depending on the type of cartridge.
As the Lewis machine gun used by many countries, it was altered to the required type of cartridge. In the US and Russia, it was 7, 62 mm cartridge, and countries such as Japan, France and Italy, have used cartridge "0.383" caliber 7, 7 mm.
Later life gun, modifications and variations
The first alteration was made at the aircraft machine gun. Major changes have affected the stock, which replaced the trigger, similar to an analog machine gun Maxim. Bulky casing removed, as the height of the trunk is very well blown by wind and eliminated the need for cooling. Also added a special device similar to bags that have caught cartridge cases, as in the extraction, they could damage the skin of the aircraft. It is noteworthy that in 1915 Lewis machine gun became the standard for installation in aircraft for military purposes.
In addition, it's bigger in size for more efficient fire was increased magazine capacity to 97 rounds. Also, for the convenience of replacing it with a pen supplied, which allows all the necessary operations with one hand.
Russian modification of
In 1916 a new machine gun Lewis, was released, which the device is finalized and made a number of design changes. He was named Lewis Mk. II. In the same year we created a better turret for the aircraft installation. It was a kind of arc-shaped rails, which allow you to move the machine gun down the back. A similar construction was soon developed in tsarist Russia.
Russia itself is also actively used the machine guns Lewis. There they were altered by the most common chuck - 7, 62h54 mm. Were used during the Civil War (and not only the Red Army, but also the white troops, Makhno anarchists, Basmachi), as well as at the initial stage of the Great Patriotic War. After it has no further information about the use of guns.
The new version presented in 1917 and when the variation naval gun was made. It was significantly reduced weight and increased rate of fire weapons. This modification was named Lewis Mk. III. She quickly gained popularity not only in the navy, but also in the Army and Air Force, and remained the principal before the Second World War.
Sunset popularity of "Lewis"
By the 30 th years of the twentieth century, a machine gun lost its former popularity. Some flaws were not eliminated completely, some have appeared during further operation. For example, when recruiting high altitude aircraft grease froze, guns need regular cleaning and maintenance, which in the conditions of rapid and mobile warfare was not always possible. Rate of fire, which was increased to 850 rounds per minute, the barrel overheated even faster, which is often overlooked in the fight. Then the guns simply fail.
And technical progress is not standing still, there were more and more advanced technologies, new ideas, and pro gun obsolete forgotten. The last time the British used it during the evacuation from Dunkirk at the beginning of the Second World War. Then the "Lewis" armed forces of the second echelon. In particular, it has been used not only infantry, but even aircraft options that were altered. After the war, all of the remaining guns, most likely sent for recycling or deposited in a museum. But in the German army, and it was used during World War II, despite the fact that at that time there were already more advanced models. It was the Dutch Party machine guns called M20, which the Germans always strive to use as much as possible trophies in fact, altered and adopted a Wehrmacht called MG100.
Lewis Gun: characteristic
- Caliber - 7, 7 and 7, 62 and others.
- cartridge type - 7, 7x57 R, 7, 62h63 and others.
- Weight - 11 8 kg.
- Total length - 1283 mm.
- Barrel length - 666 mm.
- Drive Capacity - 47 or 97 rounds.
- Rate of fire - 550 rds / min..